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Judiciary

Supreme Court Declines to Remove Tamil Nadu Minister V Senthil Balaji, Upholds High Court's Decision

By LAWSTREET NEWS NETWORK      05 January, 2024 06:14 PM      0 Comments
Supreme Court Declines to Remove Tamil Nadu Minister V Senthil Balaji, Upholds High Court's Decision

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a plea for removal of V Senthil Balaji as a minister in Tamil Nadu government, after his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate in a job-for-cash scam. 

The plea questioned the Madras High Court order, which rejected a petition against his continuance as the Minister in DMK government.

A bench of Justices Abhay S Oka and Ujjal Bhuyan said the court concurred with the view taken by the high court and no interference was called for.

The court also said that the Governor cannot dismiss a minister without the recommendation of the chief minister.

The petition by activist M L Ravi sought a direction for keeping in abeyance the withdrawal of the Governor's letter of June 29, 2023, withholding the pleasure due to moral turpitude in Balaji's case, till disposal of the matter.

The High Court had on September 5, 2023 refused to issue any direction on a batch of petitions questioning continuance of Balaji as a Minister without portfolio in Tamil Nadu Cabinet even after his arrest on June 14, 2023 by the Enforcement Directorate.

"Neither the Constitution nor the Representation of People Act of 1951 disqualifies a person to be a Member of the State Legislative Assembly after he is under custody or is undergoing trial after framing of the charges," the HC had said.

The petitioner contended the High Court erred in noticing that the June 29, 2023 letter issued by the Governor in dismissal of the Minister under Article 154, 163 and 164 of the Constitution with immediate effect and after hours issue another to keep the dismissal order in abeyance.

The petitioner raised the question whether the High Court is correct in disposing the matter with a mere advice to the Chief Minister of the State of Tamil Nadu to take a decision about the continuance of  Balaji (who is in judicial custody) as a Minister without Portfolio, which serves no purpose and which does not augur well with the principles of constitutional ethos on goodness, good governance and purity in administration.

The plea claimed the High Court is not correct in stating that there is no legislation on removal of Minister who is in custody, where by precedent the court has to interpret and keep the vacuum filled till the law is enacted.



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